Wednesday Mar 23, 2022. 12:00
Algeria national team coach Djamel Belmadi says he wants to “make people happy again” as they prepare to face Cameroon for a place at the 2022 World Cup.
The Fennec Foxes and the Indomitable Lions will meet in Douala and Blida on Friday 25 and Tuesday 29 March respectively, with the aggregate winners securing a ticket to Qatar 2022.
Algeria come into the playoff tie a wounded outfit, having suffered an embarrassing group stage exit at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The North Africans’ title defence was ended after just three matches at the tournament, as they were held 0-0 by Sierra Leone before suffering defeats to Equatorial Guinea (0-1) and Ivory Coast (1-3).
Belmadi believes that securing qualification for the World Cup would help ease the pain of their failed AFCON campaign.
“We don’t think about the fact that we haven’t won against Cameroon in the past,” Belmadi was quoted by Foot Afrique, referencing Algeria’s five-game winless run against the Indomitable Lions.
“We are focused on our goal of qualifying for the World Cup. Certainly, there is a huge pressure, but at the same time there is a great desire.
“The challenge is important for everyone, namely to reach the World Cup. It will be the culmination of three years of work. The reception at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium, during the second leg, is a positive point.
“We will give everything to offer joy to the people. I want to make people happy again. That is the promise I made to myself. What I intend to offer as a gift to the Algerian people.
“A qualification to the World Cup will make fans forget our rout at the African Cup. It won’t be easy, as Cameroon’s national team has excellent players. It’s a strong team and everyone is following it, but we will be ready.”